Great news for Whaley Bridge! High Peak Borough Council has been awarded nearly half a million pounds to make a dream come true for the Memorial Park.
The grant of £478,000, awarded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and the Big Lottery Fund through their Parks for People programme, was confirmed on 4 October. Parks for People aims to put parks back at the heart of the community. Plans drawn up by the borough council will revitalise Whaley Bridge’s gem by the river.
It was 90 years ago when the Memorial Park was created to commemorate the loss of 108 local men in the First World War. A memorial cross in the park carries the names of those men, and others who fell in World War Two. Plans for the park include restoration work on the memorial, where a wreath laying ceremony will take place on Remembrance Sunday 14 November.
The park, opened just two years after the Great War, will be restored to the original layout from 1920. Landscaping will emphasise and preserve the park’s natural environment. The park is bordered by the River Goyt and is a popular place for local people to relax.
A statement from the Heritage Lottery Fund said plans include maintaining woodland and wildlife habitats. Volunteers will get involved with the long-term maintenance of the park through activities such as hedge-laying, flower planting and dry-stone walling. New planting within the park will reflect original features and will increase new wildlife habitats. Overgrown planting will be removed to open up sightlines and vistas.
Andrew Bingham, MP to the High Peak, responded to the announcement: “This is great news for Whaley Bridge. The park is well used and in the centre of the town, and I am looking forward to seeing the results of the work completed with this money..”
Emma Sayer, head of Heritage Lottery Fund East Midlands, said: “We believe that our public parks are an important part of our country’s heritage. Whaley Bridge is a wonderful example of this right in the heart of Derbyshire. This award will complete the restoration of the park enabling it to play a full role in the life of the town, both preserving an important part of our local heritage and ensuring it can be enjoyed by many generations to come.”
John Haken, the borough council’s executive councillor for the environment, said: “I’m delighted that the HLF and Big Lottery Fund have agreed to help us realise our plans to breathe new life into this much-loved open space. The hard work of our officers in developing the bid underlines our commitment to protecting the environment and promoting healthy lifestyles.
“Fundamental to the bid’s success was the overwhelming support that public consultation revealed for our plans”, he stressed.
Whaley Bridge is in good company with the announcement. Other parks celebrating are:
* Mote Park, Maidstone, Kent – £1.8m
* Telford Town Park, Shropshire – £2.1m
* Lordship Recreation Ground, Tottenham, London – £3.8m
* Mesnes Park, Wigan – £1.9m
* Cambuslang Park, South Lanarkshire – £551,500 (HLF funded only)
The Parks for People programme uses Lottery funds to support the regeneration, conservation and increased enjoyment of public parks. The programme aims to improve the local environment and put parks firmly back at the heart of community life. In England the two Lottery Funds have been working in partnership from 2006 to deliver a multi-million pound investment in public parks of £150m. Over the past three years, the Big Lottery Fund (BIG) has invested up to £80m (in England only) with £70m coming from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for the UK.
HLF is continuing to fund public park projects in 2010 with an investment of £20m each year. The next closing date for applications is 28 February 2011. See www.hlf.org.uk for details. The Big Lottery Fund (BIG) remains committed to working in partnership with the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) in making a success of the Parks for People programme and has allocated £10 million in its grant budget for 2010/11 towards the programme in England.
The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has supported 33,900 projects, allocating £4.4billion across the UK. Website: www.hlf.org.uk